Bowel Cancer

Bowel cancer is the most common internal cancer in Australia

  • Bowel cancer is the second most common cause of death from cancer
  • Early detection can reduce the mortality rates from 95% to almost 0%
  • About 1 in 18 Australians will get bowel cancer in their lifetime
  • Risk increases with age
  • The national bowel cancer screening program uses Faecal Occult Blood (FOB) testing to detect bowel cancer at a curable stage. A positive result triggers a colonoscopy.
  • Family history of bowel cancer or polyps is important in assessing your risk of developing this disease and your need for colonoscopy
  • Almost all bowel cancers start as a “polyp” in the bowel and the progression typically takes from 5-10 years
  • Unfortunately polyps do not usually cause any symptoms
  • Polyps can easily be removed during colonoscopy considerably reducing the risk of bowel cancer.
  • The aim of a screening colonoscopy is to detect and remove pre-cancerous benign polyps. Screening should be done before any symptoms develop.
  • Colorectal cancer screening is important for everyone over a certain age.